The last ice age, albeit millions of years ago, caused the extinction of the Dinosaur population on earth. In the recent business climate I have been asking myself when the current dinosaurs are going to leave us. What dinosaurs am I speaking about? How about these supposed ‘business minds’ that decided it was time for handouts from the same public that needed it the most. As a student of Economics I can appreciate the trickle down or ‘Reaganomic’ effect of assisting big industry, but aren’t we curbing our entrepreneurial survival instincts by holding our hands out?
As I drove down Bay Street this morning I could sense the melancholy of job losses and recession dialogue (and the snow storm didn’t help). But when I got to my computer and began working for the day it seemed that my inner sanctum of friends and business associates were engaged, excited and optimistic about their growing ventures. My companies, like those of my peers’, don’t have the luxury of a public bailout, so we remain resourceful and brainstorm for creative tactics and new competitive advantages. And why do we this? Because we have no freakin’ choice. The element of survival of the free market through capitalism is skewed when the likes of Chrysler are blessed with golden parachutes that contain billion dollar loans, loose covenants and targets, and some of the most subjective language ever seen in the lending sector; “[The big 3] must prove to be ‘viable’ by March 31st, 2009”. What does viable mean? Well, for me (and I hope most other hardworking entrepreneurs) it means building strong and sustainable businesses that can survive without being reliant on lenders. For the U.S. auto industry however, viable simply means a positive cash flow, regardless of profitability, debt load from other sources, or even solvency.
So to those of you out there who are not only surviving this downturn but bettering your business through resilience and resourcefulness, ‘shoot that puck’! And to those dinosaurs out there waiting for things to go back to ‘the way they were’, maybe it’s time to reflect on how you got started in business…otherwise extinction may be coming.By Aydin Mirzaee